Don Rusnak

Your member of parliament for


Thunder Bay-Rainy River

Don Rusnak

Your member of parliament for


Thunder Bay-Rainy River

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Indigenous History Month Feature – Xavier Michon

Xavier Michon

1920-1987

Xavier is known to many as the grandfather of the Friendship Center Movement, but in Thunder Bay he is known to be the founding father of the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Center.

In 1940 Xavier enlisted himself in the army and fought in both North Africa and Italy. He is known as one of the esteemed veterans who fought his way up the boot of Italy. He was wounded in battle and his heroism was commemorated with 5 metals.

After he came home from the war he took on the task of working in the Abitibi Provincial Paper Mill, where he endured taunting and racism. During this time in his life he began to volunteer working with Indigenous people and their children. From there he was then given the challenge of organizing a friendship center, he accepted the challenge.

In the 1960`s he traveled to reserves in the region of Thunder Bay encouraging people to improve the communities and their development. He set up links and supports for people on these reserves who were moving to Thunder Bay.

In 1974 he became president of the NAFC, Native People of Thunder Bay Development and founding president of the OFIFC. He was also a member of the Welfare Council of Canada, the Task Force on Native People of Canada Manpower, the Ontario Government’s Task Force on Natives and the Law, the Smith Clinic for Alcoholism, the Métis and Non-Status Indian Association of Ontario, the Welfare Association of Thunder Bay, Ontario Legal Aid, Family and Children’s Services, Kairos, and was Co-chair of the Ontario Task Force on Services to Urban Natives.

His dream was to build a strong Aboriginal community, to be treated fairly and for Aboriginal people to have independence.

Source: http://nafc.ca/en/who-we-are/spirits-of-friendship/xavier-michon/